Current Issue

STEM Education News

September 25, 2014

In This Issue:

Meet the 2014-2015 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows

As the 2014-2015 school year commenced in classrooms across the nation, 19 teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics began their year serving as Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows (AEF). The educators will serve the next 11 months in Washington, D.C. as fellows at sponsoring agencies, which include the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). As Einstein Fellows, the educators provide their host agency with practical classroom insight to inform the development and implementation of education programs and policies, especially those related STEM education.

The 2014-2015 AEFs were selected through a rigorous application and interview process from a nationwide pool of competitive applicants. This year’s cohort includes elementary, middle, and high school teachers from public and private schools in 16 different states.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

  • Pamela KraussA high school science teacher from Plantation, FL; serving in the Office of Senator Bill Nelson, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
  • Jeffrey MilbourneA high school science teacher from Durham, NC; serving in the Office of Congressman Mike Honda, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
  • Kara PezziA high school science teacher from Appleton, WI; serving at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
  • Ann ReimersA high school science teacher from Middleburg,VA; serving at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
  • John SmithA high school science teacher from Philadelphia, PA; serving in the Office of Senator Kirsten Gilibrand, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
  • Joshua SneidemanA middle school science teacher from Irvine, CA; serving at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

  • Daniel NewmyerA middle and high school science, engineering, mathematics and computer science teacher from Center, CO; serving at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Education
  • Rebecca VieyraA high school science and engineering teacher from Cary, IL; serving at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION

  • June TeisanA middle school science teacher from Harper Woods, MI; serving at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Education

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

  • Deborah CornelisonA middle and high school science teacher from Ada, OK; serving at the National Science Foundation, Education and Human Resources Directorate, Division of Undergraduate Education
  • Kaye EbeltAn elementary science, engineering, mathematics and robotics teacher from Missoula, MT; serving at the National Science Foundation, Directorate for Engineering, Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation
  • Katie HendricksonA middle school mathematics teacher from Athens, OH; serving at the National Science Foundation, Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, Computer and Network Systems
  • Natalie HarrAn elementary school teacher from Mantua, OH; serving at the National Science Foundation, Education & Human Resources Directorate, Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings
  • Kathryn HoppeA high school science teacher from Spencerport, NY; serving at the National Science Foundation, Directorate for Engineering, Engineering Education Centers
  • Jennie LyonsA high school computer science teacher from Tarrytown, NY; serving at the National Science Foundation, Computer & Information Science & Engineering, Computer and Network Systems
  • Mary PattersonA middle school teacher from Cypress, TX; serving at the National Science Foundation, Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, Cyberinfrastructure and Cyberlearning
  • Beverly StambaughA middle school science, technology, engineering and mathematics teacher from Fairborn, OH; serving at the National Science Foundation, Geosciences Directorate, Office of the Assistant Director
  • Anna SumnerA middle school engineering and technology teacher from Omaha, NE; serving at the National Science Foundation, Education and Human Resources Directorate, Human Resources Development
  • Erica WallstromA high school science teacher from Rutland, VT; serving at the National Science Foundation, Geosciences Directorate, Division of Polar Programs

Learn more about the 2014-2015 Albert Einstein Fellows here.

Founded in 1990, the AEF Program is a paid fellowship for K-12 STEM educators with demonstrated excellence in teaching and leadership. Fellowships aim to increase understanding, communication, and cooperation among the legislative and executive branches of the government and the STEM education community. The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Act, authorized by Congress in 1994, gave the DOE federal responsibility for the program. The Triangle Coalition for STEM Education administers the program for the DOE Office of Science in partnership with the other participating federal agencies.

The AEF Program is currently accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Fellowship Year. Program applications are due by 5:00 pm EST, November 20, 2014, and must be submitted through an online application system. Learn more here.

Triangle Coalition Event to Address the Future of STEM

On October 8-10, STEM education leaders from across the nation will gather in Washington, DC for Triangle Coalition’s 14th Annual STEM Education Conference. Presentations will address critical challenges and opportunities for Sustaining STEM and concentrate on three core strands: Sustaining STEM through partnerships; Broadening participation among the underserved; and Planning for the STEM paradigm of the future.

The conference program includes a diverse line-up of thought-provoking presentations with opportunities for discussion, sharing and networking. On Wednesday, participants will have an opportunity to engage in STEM advocacy through meetings with Congressional offices to discuss policy issues. On Thursday, Frank Spencer, a thought-leader in foresight, innovation and strategic design, will open with a keynote address and unique perspective on the future of STEM. During the luncheon, The Honorable Kelly Carnes, President and CEO of TechVision21, will discuss STEM workforce needs related to national security, cybersecurity, and defense. On Friday, Hans Meeder of NC3T will share findings from his new book, The STEM Leader Guide, and help participants discover how they can use a high-quality STEM curriculum to reach more students. Additional highlights include a panel discussing the critical role of STEM in solving grand challenges of the 21st century. Leaders from IEEE-USA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will discuss the role of STEM education in preparing today’s students to address the most pressing global challenges, such the safety and supply of the world’s food, water and energy. The complete agenda detailing all of the sessions is available the conference website.

Attendees are encouraged to BYOD – bring your own device – to access the digital conference program, a new addition to this year’s event, through the complimentary wireless network. Registration discounts are available to members of the Triangle Coalition and alumni of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. To learn more about the event, view the agenda and register, visit trianglecoalition.org/conference.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Identifies State “Leaders” and “Laggards”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently held an event to release its report, “Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on K-12 Educational Effectiveness.”  John McKernan, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, convened the event by noting that despite the bleak outcomes of the report, which gave 10 states a failing grade in overall academic achievement with many receiving “D’s” and “C’s”, every state has seen some improvement since the first report in 2007.

Frederick Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, explained that the grades for each state are relative to other states, and that the often dismal results are intended to encourage states to rise to the challenge of acknowledging and addressing their shortcomings.  The report indicates both current educational achievement and state progress since the previous evaluation.  Tennessee was highlighted as a state that diligently responded to the 2007 report, earning an “A” in “progress made since 2007,” despite a “D” grade for “2014 Academic Achievement,” demonstrating the ongoing nature of the call to improve education for America’s students.

At the event, which featured varied speakers, Balaji Ganapathy, Head of Workforce Effectiveness at Tata Consultancy Services, identified “innovation and creativity” and “digital fluency” as the most important responses of states identified as “laggards.”  For more information, go to: uschamberfoundation.org/reportcard.

AEE Discusses Technology in the Classroom for At-Risk students

On Wednesday, September 10, the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) hosted a webinar, “Three Factors for Success in Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students,” to discuss the findings in, “Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning,” the report coauthored by Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, and Molly Zielezinski, a doctoral candidate at Stanford University Graduate School of Education.  Darling-Hammond began the discussion by noting the growing numbers of minority and poverty-stricken students in U.S. schools; these populations generally see lower graduation rates and fall into the category of at-risk student.  She explained how the proper implementation of technology in the classroom can help at-risk students learn through shifts in pedagogy that include technology materials.  Zielezinski further mentioned the importance of incorporating technology into lesson plans that will engage the students, allow them to explore the material and elaborate on what they learned.  Tom Murray, State and District Digital Learning Director at AEE, quickly noted a disclaimer to incorporating technology in the classroom in saying, “no technology will replace highly effective teachers but instead technology will work as a tool to improve teaching and student learning.”  Zielenzinski and Darling-Hammond closed the webinar by stating recommendations—from their report—for implementing technology in the classroom through incorporating one-to-one learning, establishing a blended learning environment, using interactive programs, making sure all classrooms and schools have internet connections and using technology to create content with students.  For an archive of the webinar and to view the report, go to: http://all4ed.org/webinar-event/sep-10-2014.

Legislative Update
ESRA Moves One Step Closer to Reauthorization

On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a markup of the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366) , which would reauthorize federal education research through the Institutes of Education Sciences.  H.R 4366 was unanimously passed in May by the House and was stalled in the Senate until the House agreed to move the Senate-passed Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (S. 1086), which the House passed on the suspension calendar on Monday.  No amendments were offered after Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) withdrew her amendment—which would have required the Department of Education to make student financial aid data available for research purposes—with the agreement to work with Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to include her withdrawn amendment in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Full article

eCYBERMISSION Competition Seeks Volunteers

(NSTA Express) eCYBERMISSION, a web-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competition for students in grades 6–9, is seeking dedicated individuals—teachers, parents, community leaders, business leaders, and anyone else with a background or interest in STEM—to serve as volunteers for the program. Volunteer roles include:

  • Ambassadors serve as the face of eCYBERMISSION by promoting the competition and recruiting other volunteers in the community. Those who wish to interact with students as a part of their outreach must submit and pass a criminal background check or have an active Department of Defense security clearance.
  • CyberGuides provide online assistance to eCYBERMISSION teams by answering questions and give guidance through the use of discussion forums, instant messaging, and live chat sessions. All CyberGuides must submit and pass a criminal background check or have an active Department of Defense security clearance.
  • Virtual Judges Individuals with an interest or background in STEM or education who independently evaluate team mission folders online.

More information about the competition, including volunteer registration, is available here. If you have questions, please contact Alexis Mundis at volunteerprogram@ecybermission.com. CyberGuides’ registration closes on February 24, 2015, and registration to be a virtual judge closes February 25, 2015. Sponsored by the U.S. Army and administered by NSTA, eCYBERMISSION promotes the importance of STEM education to students across the country. If that’s your mission as well, join us!